Skin is more sensitive than we give it credit for, and despite this, the majority of us remain uneducated, buying and supporting the use of products that are doing far more harm to our skin’s health than we may realize. If you’re having any trouble with your skin, or even if you aren’t, it’s time to get more information about some of the harsh chemicals and additives that may be lurking in your go-to makeups. Here are six top offenders of harmful ingredients you should be keeping an eye out for and totally avoiding.
Also seen listed as DEP, DEHP, or DBP, phthalates are in a discouraging amount of beauty products. Keep an eye out for these chemicals in your color cosmetics, scented lotions, body washes, hair care products, and nail polish.
Phthalates have been linked to cancer, endocrine system disruption, and reproductive and developmental toxicity. While they should be avoided by all, it is especially important for pregnant and nursing individuals to stay free and clear of these.
If you’re looking to protect your skin from the summer sun with one of many available sunscreens, beware of the widely accepted and use oxybenzone. This ingredient is actually illegal across most of Europe, and over 30 years have passed since its review by the FDA.
The EWG, or Environmental Working Group, has listed oxybenzone as being linked to issues with fertility, obesity, and other hormone-related problems. There are oxybenzone-free alternatives out on the market, so reach for one of those the next time you’re headed out to sunbathe.
3. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
This preservative is actually used in many food products, but as it is used in more and more lip products, concerns are growing right along with the average amount being absorbed into users’ systems.
Now that studies are being conducted, it has been revealed that long-term exposure has led to high toxicity levels in rats. They ultimately suffered from stomach tumors and had trouble with blood clotting. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances also lists BHA as a possible gastrointestinal and liver toxicant.
This one can come hidden as quite a lot of ingredient names, but the key takeaway is to avoid any ingredient that has a name ending in “paraben”, such as butylparaben, ethylparaben, or isopropylparaben. It comes in a lot of forms, many of which are banned in Denmark entirely.
Much like phthalates, parabens are linked to cancer and endocrine system disruption, and should especially be avoided by pregnant or nursing individuals. There are lines of “paraben-free” products, so shift your choices in that direction.
You may not instantly recognize this offshoot of silicone by name, but it is an awful lot of beauty supplies. Toothpastes, deodorants, petroleums, even medical supplies often contain this ingredient.
Siloxanes actually pose more of a risk to the environment than to humans, but protecting our wildlife and aquatic areas is just as important as taking care of ourselves. Siloxanes are often found in high amounts across American cities, and the high buildup of concentrations in our waterways is quite toxic to aquatic life.
6. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
This ingredient can be found in many mousses, hair dyes, foot creams, lip balms, moisturizers, you name it and there’s a high chance that PEG can be found in it. Yet researchers have found in many PEG compounds heavy metals such as lead, iron, nickel, and arsenic, all of which have been linked to cancer.
Polyethylene glycol can also open your pores, allowing toxins to more easily penetrate your skin. Toxicity and irritation can occur easily, particularly if the user already has broken skin.